After extensively shopping around the demos for his third album, Matthew Sweet finally landed a deal with Zoo, who released Girlfriend in 1991. It’s fine songcraft, scintillating guitars from Television’s Richard Lloyd and Lou Reed alumnus Robert Quine—now chiming, now gouging—and deep understanding of pop music forms made it an underground success that poked its nose into the light when the title-track was a minor hit.
Boasting surging power pop (‘Divine intervention’), evocative country rock (‘Your sweet voice’), and stinging ‘alt-pop’ (‘Does she talk?’), Girlfriend is infused with melancholy and disrupted by bursts of angry jangle and spite. It’s a fabulous album.
Goodfriend was a promo disc, released a year later. A rarity at the time, it was paired with its, er, partner, and re-issued as part of Sony’s Legacy series in 2006. Good friend enriches appreciation of the original with well-crafted demos, coruscating live performances and deft covers. Even the cover is deft.
When Goodfriend came out on double-vinyl for RSD 2016, I was excited. From the layered acoustic guitars on ‘Divine Intervention’ to the live Crazy Horse rumble of ‘Cortez the killer’, this is a curiosity worth having, even for those less partial to Sweets than me.
#200wordchallenge courtesy Mr Mike Ladano
Vinyl Connection’s other Matthew Sweet piece is here